gummy bears in the future

well, i felt as though i needed one more blog post to cover this subject before it finishes forever. however, while i was sitting at my desk, trying to think of what to post, i somehow became distracted by a bag of delicious gummy bears. and then proceeded to spend the next 15 minutes trying to stack them they would stay up long enough for me to take a photo. yes, it’s that time of semester, this is what i have come to for entertainment and procrastination, stacking gummy bears.

anyhow, on to what i was actually going to talk about before those tasty bears distracted me. the future… where are we going and what are we going to do when we get there. this entire course has been about networks. but not just networks, how networks are changing. it’s given us a chance to rethink not only what we want to do with our careers but how to look at the world. the world today is completely different to what it was ten or twenty years ago and it will be just as different by the time we finish our degrees in a mere 2 years!

digital technology is the way of the future. everything will be online and everything else must adapt to suit that or face dying out. what will journalism be in 5 years without physical newspapers? what will the tv landscape look like when people don’t need tv’s with channels with set schedules anymore? what will happen to radio when people can play whatever music they want through their cars or phones? (thank god for bluetooth. i can’t stand top 40 radio). scarcity doesn’t exist anymore, the internet has relieved the world of shelf space. everything can be accessed, so why do we still need those platform which limit our range of choice?

the problem is, we want to enter this field, the field of media. but, how can we know what we want to do when we don’t even know if those jobs will still exist by the time we get around to doing them? we all need to rethink our assumptions about everything we know because not only is everything different than it was, but it will all change again very soon.

i wish each and one of you the very best in whatever job you wish to do and i hope it still exists once you get there. until then… goodnight and goodluck



i dream of machine

this weeks reading, which can be found here, is an interesting one but seems pretty fitting for our final reading as it is look towards the future of technologies and machinery and science in general really. all the work of smart people and how it can affect and assist the not so smart people. but, that first dream, “the dream of symbiosis”, is pretty much the cause of the worlds destruction every sci-fi movie to do with machines or robots or technology. and so i couldn’t really get past that. have you ever

found a book or movie about machines that can think for themselves, on the level of humans, that didn’t result in some world altering disaster? no.. because it just couldn’t happen. maybe i’m being small minded here. i don’t know i’ve probably just seen too many robot movie. but it happen, they all turn evil. and with their super robot strength, we humans don’t stand a chance. i believe that the more advanced we make our technology, the closer we are bringing ourselves to our own destruction. but, thats just me. maybe i’m overreacting a bit. lets see what those other dreams were…

so, apart from the dream of having the world taken over by robots, we have the dream of emergence. this again links back into my robots theory where with such advanced technology, intelligence must inevitably emerge. (and destroy us all. ok, maybe i’m getting a bit carried away). then there was the dream of emergence, which i only understood because it said something about virtual reality systems. which would be cool. you know, kinda like in the matrix, where the robots control us all by keeping us in a virtual reality of the world while they pretty much eat us.

next came the dream of world peace. and now you’re thinking “how is she gonna turn this one into a doomsday situation?”. well, i can’t. world peace would be great but, i don’t think it’s technology that’s going to get us there.

the dream of transparency didn’t give much definition. i guess it’s kinda just like what adrian discussed in the lecture about everything being out there. once its online, its there for anyone to read so the dream is that eventually everything will be shared equally with everyone.

on the other hand, i have no idea what the dream of flows was about, especially because i kept thinking it said dream of flowers, which i think is much nicer and less likely to lead to our destruction by robots.

next is the dream of the open work. this one also seemed kinda confusing but i understood as similar to another one of adrian’s point from earlier this semester. this was about “content is not king” but rather its the services that provide content or allow users to create their own. the reading says that one of the “Strongest shifts of emphasis in the digital age is movement from creating finished works of art to creating systems of productions of art”. this makes sense because in society today, consumers are now creators too and so a more successful technology would be one that allows for more to be created rather than one that simply is.

no idea what the dream of the other was about and i’m guessing that the dream of new art is pretty much just that, the belief that the future of technology will create more advanced technology and the hopes that that new art won’t one day rise up against us.

the final dream was “hacking the dream” which i can only imagine involves hacking into the internet and changing it to suit your needs or what you want to create, but that one was also a bit confusing. from all of this, i have learnt that i am pretty sure that machines will one day defeat the human race but hopefully i will not be around to see it. before that time happens however, we have a lot of awesome new technologies to look forward to 😀



so long symposium

this week was our last networked media unlecture. i have to say, i did enjoy them. they were a nice fresh change on the face of university and lectures and all the other drab. they were interesting. they were about we we wanted them to be about and they were engaging. and more often than not, they introduced me to an awesome new site, like from this weeks lecture. these cool sites were about the network, what it or we can do with it and how it works.

so.. what did we learn from this final “unlecture?”

well, it was more of a recap. it even came with slides!!! showing us how even though there hadn’t appeared to be any structure to this course at the beginning of the semester, a structure emerged (see what i did there? like with a scale free network) as we moved forward through the course. we saw how all our different readings and concepts came together. from starting off with our blogs, to hypertext, to scale free networks and centres and the long tail to databases and protocols. everything is linked together. it’s all just one big happy family. that was what i liked about this course. even though there didn’t seem to be a structure, there was. but this also gave us the chance to learn what we wanted to learn. our lecture and classes were fuelled by our questions, we got out of it what we wanted to get out of it. and the blogging allowed you to experiment with idea while contributing your own and explore our place within the growing network. and if nothing else, from this course i have learned to bog, and learned to love it!!! i am excited to be continuing to blog long past the end of the semester.


ANTs in my brain

so this weeks reading by Bruno Latour was called “On Actor Network Theory: A Few Clarifications 1/2.” or, as i liked to call it, “pure evil”. if you wish to torture yourself, you can find it here.

as i’m sure you’ve gathered from those first two sentences, i did not like this reading. it just made no sense. and never really seemed to tell us what actor network theory was. all i did learn was what it wasn’t. for one, it wasn’t about actors. 2, it’s not even about networks. or, not in the traditional sense of networks, or even other senses of the term, such as social networks or train networks. so, if it’s not a network, what is it?

well, there was this sentence: “Put too simply ANT is a change of methaphors to describe essences: instead of surfaces one gets filaments”. but what on earth does that even mean? all just seems like a lot of hoopla over nothing. and don’t get me wrong, i tried re-reading this a bunch of times, it just refused to sink in. so much of this was over complicated jargon that just left me frustrated.

you know what… i give up. you want my interpretation of actor-network theory (or ANT)? here it is:

databases or narrative?

one of the questions from this weeks lecture was asking if databases are narrative. or if they are changing the nature of narrative. the basic answer we got was that databases are not narratives, they are lists. a narrative must follow a story, it is driven by cause and effect. a list is simply… well, a list.

a cool example adiran showed us in the lecture was the cowbird site. i checked it out when i got home and i have to say, it’s a very interesting site and some of the stories on it are great. but, like adrian said, it is not a narrative. maybe the stories it contains are narratives, but the site itself and the way it is presented isn’t. however, going through the site, it did kinda feel like a hypertext narrative. while it was not written by one author with a specific narrative intention, it still has those attributes of the open endedness of the hypertext narrative. there are unlimited possibilities of which story you will see next because each page links out to heaps of other pages that link out to more so that no two journeys through the site are the same. but, even if it allows us to endlessesly scroll through a bunch of mini stories, the cowbird platform is not itself a narrative, it is a database, a collection of stuff, tit bits and stories. it is a scale free network, people can constantly contribute their own content and it will be added to the network and connected to what has been shared by others.

so that got me thinking… is the internet just a giant database? i mean, it doesn’t really just seem like a list to me, it’s so much more. but it also doesn’t really tell a story, unless you look at it metaphorically or something and it can tell the sotry of the evolution of mankind over the last couple of decades. i mean, we pretty much have everything online and all that content together can show how society has changed. i guess that’s kind of not a narrative. maybe it is, society is affected by cause and effect and it all goes online. but probably not. well… i tried.

well, that’s anything of any sub par level of intelligence that i have for you tonight. however, there is another pretty cool site thats kinda like cowbird (and also nothing like cowbird)  called “stumble upon” which you give in your preferences (such as your likes and interests) and it just finds random pages from across the entire internet that it think you would like. very easy to lose hours just stumbling across the internet. have fun 😀


discussions driven by ideas, not opinions

i feel as though i’ve hit a slump in my blog. two weeks left of semester and i’m just not feeling as networky as i used to.

so, i headed over to the subject blog for some inspiration. after getting caught in the dangerous territitroy of the “faces of facebook” post and losing another shameful 20 minutes trying to find myself, i came upon the post, “blogs, opinion, knowledge” which took me back to a lot of the discussion from the start of the semester about why, when and how we blog. you can’t just tell someone to blog or how to do it, they need to start for themselves and have a reason for starting it, to get their voice out there.

what was interesting about this new post and which gave me something to think about was the idea that we can get lost listening to our own voice. that soon it can move into just voicing opinions with no real grounding in reason. it’s ok to have an opinion, and everyone should. but, as adrian said in the post, there needs to be some sort of idea behind the opinion, evidence to give it legitamability (woo! new word). for example, i can’t just go around posting on my blog that Justin bieber sucks. there has to be some form of logical reasoning behind this. i could say he sucks because… and that would be better because i would be giving my readers a chance to understand my point of view or my ideas without just having a hoard of opinions shoved in their faces that have no real purpose or use. it’s given me a new way to think about what i post in my blog and i apologise if my previous posts have seemed too opinion-y and not enough idea-y.

oh, and if you’re wondering “whats with the turtle?”, i felt as though my recent posts have been pretty bland and imageless so i thought this friendly turtle would be a nice way to liven things up again.

technology, stop trying to control my life!!!

as i sit here, trying to blog, i find myself constantly distracted by even the thought of facebook, which then somehow leads me to waste a minimum of 40 minutes on youtube before moving to play another round of scramble on my phone before finally and somewhat reluctantly finding my way back to my blog to continue this (or any other) post. i can’t help but think, is this technodeterminism? i am pretty much being ruled by the computer. however, not only would i be unable to do my work without the computer or the internet, but my computer and the internet is the very thing stopping me from doing my work. oh the paradoxes!!!! sometimes i wish it was like VCE where everything was in books. i wouldn’t get so distracted. oh, who’s kidding, of course i still would.

thats the thing with technodeterminism, it’s just there. technology is everywhere. as adrian said, there is no longer a distinct line between technology and nature, because we have changed practically everything. stupid science. technology has evolved to the point where it is an unavoidable factor of our every day lives. it is an inherent part of who we are. we think differently than we did in the period of less or no technology because it has redefined our culture. but, does this mean it is controlling us? adrian would say yes. in the lecture he discussed how everything we do or say or think is affected by our technology. you cannot do things your own way because they must remain within the constraints of the culture and of the technology. we cannot write or speak in anything other than a defined language. and a poem must follow the restraints of a poem and a movie of a certain genre must conform to the boundaries of that genre. and thus, we are controlled by the boundaries of technology.

however, i do not completely agree. yes, it can be said that what we do must fit in with the lines that are already set by technology. but we created those lines. we created the technology and the technology can only do as we have created, it can’t go beyond the bounds of what we have designed it to do. but we can extend those bounds. the english language states that i cannot type: hsif hgdos lpghs plisty, and that it will make sense. but why can’t it? why can’t t become a new language, a new technology with new contraints and restrictions? how did we even get everything we have today if we never stepped outside the restraints set by our past technologies. imagine if we had stopped at the wheel, or fire simply because it was all there was. so yes, while most of us are bound by the restraints set by our technologies, it is when we act outside these restraints that we can create new technologies and evolve our culture.

i don’t believe in technodeterminism, we control technology. we created it and we have the ability to overcome and improve it while it remains within its own boundaries.

lost in the network

so, this week, adrian decided to kick off the lecture by showing us all the site “the faces of facebook” which is a pretty incredible site. however, i do kinda wish that adrian had of shown us this at the end of the lecture because, as should be no surprise to anyone who knows how easily distracted i get, i ended up completely missing the next 15 or so minutes because i was trying to find myself on the site. as i’m sure you can imagine, with over 1 billion people on facebook, i was unable to find myself, or even anyone i know. this is just a testament  to show how incredible this network really is, over 1 billion people are on facebook!!! i can’t think of anything similar that has come anywhere near to those numbers. its insane. and right now, it seems impossible to think that facebook will ever stop being huge.

but, can facebook last indefinitely? probably not. as was discussed in the lectures, old hubs deteriorate over time, and new ones flourish. think of myspace or yahoo, very popular back when they came out but now are nowhere to be seen. will this happen to facebook, or even the seemingly untouchable google? its hard to tell now because they just seem so huge but i’m sure they will. think of all the new stuff we have now as well as facebook, there’s twitter, flickr, Instagram, vine, tumbler and so many more, how long lasting are any of these sites in the forever expanding network of the internet. they are so strong as hubs because they have so many loose ties but because these ties are so loose, the hubs can’t last. its the strong ties that last but also lead to a more disconnected network. facebook or google are all weak ties, as many ties as they possibly have to get as many links as possible to great the biggest network as possible. so it makes sense for me to get lost in the vast network of the internet and facebook because so does everything else, there is just so much of it.

what was amazing that one person made that whole faces of facebook site. i wouldn’t even know where to start with something like that and she did it just for fun! that’s dedication.

what’s wrong with the music industry?

Does technology control our lives? do we change the way we work around technology or does technology change as we need it to? technodeterminism is a term that implies that technology controls us. it controls what we do, it controls society and suggest that changes in society only come about because of technology. but how true is this? i believe neither extreme is the correct answer. we change technology to suit us but we also adapt our techniques and ways of thinking when new technology is introduced into our lives. think about it, before the days of the cellphone, people would never even consider being able to speak to someone on the go. same with the age before the portable music player, the only way to hear music was through a cd player and before that a record player. we evolve technology to suit our needs but then we evolve ourselves to work with the technology, its part of our culture. even the word technology is part of our culture, the word itself didn’t even exist a mere few centuries ago and now it’s everywhere we look. it just goes to show how quickly things change in society and how quickly our culture adapts to this change.

this notion of culture changing along with society is similar to a point from a few weeks back that adrian made that context does not survive. everything we have today can only really be analysed within the context of today, because in the past we did not have these technologies and so everything was created with a completely different view and way of thinking, as will be everything in the future.

this leads me (kinda) into my topic of discussion today, what’s wrong with the music industry? this is all stemming from our discussions in class last week. i don’t really remember how we got onto it but it ended with us (well, mainly me) hating pretty heavily on one direction. i’ll try not to do that too much here but i’m warning you now, it might go there. first off for me is the huge difference between “pop” music that we have today and the pop music from 20-30 or so years ago. it just seems to be of a completely different calibre. to see what i mean, check out this picture which compares beyonce’s “run the world” with Queens “bohemian Rhapsody” (which is the best song ever! not to mention best karaoke song). i mean, come on!!! that song has pretty much just one line!!and it took 6 people to write it? what is happening world? but, as i’ve been mentioning, it’s difficult to compare because they were made in completely different times with different cultures and different ways of life. for some more depressing facts about music comparisons (between now and good music/artists), check out this site here. its pretty sad thinking that K$sha’s “tik tok” sold more copies than any beatles’ song but again, different times. back when the beatles were big, the music industry was different (and in my opinion, better). music broadcast wasn’t as widespread, you couldn’t download you music. music players weren’t as easily accessible. there are a whole range of excuses one can come up with. but at the end of the day, has the music changed?

i myself have never been the hugest fan of pop music. i’m more of an alternative/punk/rock kinda listener. my favourite songs off an album are very rarely the singles that are released for radio.and to me that’s because they just have that different quality, an attempt to be more marketable. the single needs to sell or no one will buy the cd.

here are some quick dot points of stuff that our class discussed in regards to the prolifity and repetition of the same crap on the radio today:

Current media songs written in metaphor, they never specify a person, its always “you”.

  • for example: Katy perry: firework or one direction: you don’t know you’re beautiful
    • These songs can be adapted to anyone/anything so that everyone can think it’s about them
    • this makes it more marketable – because its attractive to anyone, everyone will listen and buy it
    • they never makes the subject of the song specific
    • and are structured to have the broadest possible appeal
    • this is to maximise sales
    • they want to find the most efficient way of producing popular music (least amount of cost and effort for most amount of sales)
    • Thats what the music industry is: its an industry.
and this is where shows like Idol (american or australian) or the X factor or the Voice or whatever other singing competition shows are out there come in. they exemplify this, a lack of connection with music. or even a lack of real music being produced. because today, pop stars are not writing music because thats what they want, or because they love music, but because they want to make money. and their songs reveal this, they don’t have meanings, the lyrics don’t truly connect because there is nothing behind them, they have just been written to please the masses and make the sales. the winners of these competitions are given records, they are given music and are given lyrics and simply told to perform, but there is nothing behind it. what’s the different between one direction and the Beatles? well, aside from the time gap, the beatles were a band and one direction is a boy band. the beatles wrote and played their own music (granted, it got kinda razy and drug infused towards the end. and i’m not saying their song’s weren’t ambiguous and lovey) while one direction are just 5 random boys (i won’t deny that they can sing though) who were put together instead of being eliminated and have songs written for them. it just feels as though emphasis is being taken away from working hard and putting yourself into the music and placed on making as much money as you can. and so now every series of X factor is trying to create the next supergroup of random teen boys to keep that money rolling in.
sorry, it got a bit intense there. now you can see why i don’t listen to pop music. i’ll stick with my rock bands, let the world keep pumping out the same commercialised songs one after another. after all, there wouldn’t be the long tail without the part at the front.


oh, and back to the “does media control our lives” question. check out this article about a teenager who died from playing 2 days straight of playing video games. very sad.

can’t think of a good name for this post

if my lack of a good title is any indication, i was not a huge fan of this weeks unlecture. not sure what it was about it, it just wasn’t as good as the previous ones. and i’ve really been enjoying our symposiums but something this week just didn’t seem to flow and thus we resulted in a lack of interesting blog post title. i feel ashamed. hopefully this won’t happen again.

onto the unlecture itself. we began with discussing the difference between a scaled network and a scale-free network. as you can assume from those two titles, a scaled network is limited while a scale free is unlimited. take the roadways of Australia and the internet for example. Australia, being an island, only has a limited number of roads and links it can have inside it, mainly because cars cannot travel on water. but the internet can keep expanding forever. it has no boundaries. the difference with these two is also that of the centre. an example from the symposium was the melbourne metro lines. if something were to happen at flinders street station (which is pretty much the centre of the train network), all trains would stop. but if a site online crashes, nothing stops, everything can just move around it because of the limitless amount of other links that exist. however, contrary to this, i personally feel that if google broke down, even for a day or a few hours, not only would the internet stop but the the whole world would stop working. but that’s not necessarily because of the structure of the internet, its just because the whole world relies on google for pretty much everything.

the other interesting point with the scale free network was the elimination of shelf space. this is where the long tail comes into play because with the digitalisation of pretty much everything, all those items of clothes, songs, movies or tv shows that get lost in the long tail can be found and bought and enjoyed, all because the retailer doesn’t have to pay for shelf space online. now, for me, this is great, because i am not a lover of most things deemed “mainstream”. i mean, i’m not into ridiculously obscure things that you could not find in a shopping centre if you tried. i’m probably jsut a little bit down th long tail, not down in the pointy end. but for me it is still much easier to find what i like online, and far more abundant too, than if i were to go into a store looking for it. this for me is more relevant with the television so called “shelf-space” where, as adrian put it, channels can only broadcast 24 hours of tv a day and thus, what they broadcast must sell (or be seen). and my shows do not fall under the category of “must watch tv”. ever wondered why there is so much reality tv competition on tv? yeah, it’s crap. but it draws in those big numbers. forget the little shows *cough* supernatural *cough*, it’s all about the ratings. and thats the beauty of stuff like youtube (or, you know, those lovely streaming sites with every episode of every show ever) which has unlimited content because it is not restricted by hours or ratings or ads. in conclusion, the digitalisation of the world has drastically reduced the problem of product scarcity. there is just more out there.